Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance,
sets the scene for how the Island has led the world in the creation
of its own image rights law and register.
Guernsey launched the world's first image rights legislation
and image rights register in late 2012 and remains the only the
jurisdiction to do so.
The law has opened up a new chapter in asset protection and
exploitation management and has seen a steady stream of
registrations with the Island's Intellectual Property Office.
The most exciting application to date has arguably been that of
Manchester City Manager Manuel Pellegrini. The 60-year-old Chilean
who has previously managed Spanish giants Real Madrid registered
his image rights through the Guernsey service provider Finsbury
Image Rights at the end of October.
Other big names on the Island's image rights register
include British tennis star Heather Watson, UK model Megan
Williams, professional boxer Bradley Saunders and international DJs
Tiesto and Afrojack. These individuals have identified that the
Guernsey legislation provides greater clarity in the definition of
rights and a higher degree of protection from unauthorised use by
third parties than is currently on offer in any other
Many know of Guernsey as a holiday destination or because of our
most famous football son, Matthew Le Tissier. However, during the
last 50 years, Guernsey has established itself as a leading
international finance centre (IFC) with a reputation for
innovation. For example, the Island pioneered the cell company
concept with the introduction of the Protected Cell Company (PCC)
in 1997 and has its own regional stock exchange, the Channel
Islands Stock Exchange (CISX).
We also have significant experience in servicing private clients
by employing structures such as companies and trusts. In January
2013 the Island introduced the Guernsey Foundation, which provides
practitioners with another tool for asset protection, succession
planning and wealth planning through a third country for globally
mobile individuals, such as footballers. Guernsey becoming the
first jurisdiction globally to recognise image rights in law and
provide them with a register is just the latest step in the ongoing
evolution of our financial services industry.
Image right concept
Traditionally, the main way to protect the intellectual property
in a personality has been through trade mark rights. While there
are other related IP rights that come into play, such as copyright
and design rights, trade marks are the most relevant. However, they
only go so far in protecting the rights of the modern celebrity and
sports star, whose interests are more wide ranging than ever
before. Guernsey's image rights legislation addresses the needs
of the modern marketplace by allowing a personality to formally
register not only images but also other characteristics of
The rationale is that individuals should have control over their
image and how it is used, but they should also have the capacity to
earn a livelihood from that image. Guernsey offers an environment
with the financial infrastructure and expertise necessary where
this can become a reality.
Many footballers already use our private client services and we
see no reason why others won't follow Pellegrini's example
and utilise our world first image rights legislation, which in turn
can provide the catalyst for an increased demand for the
Island's wider wealth management services.
As reported in the market updates section of this newsletter, the UAE Ministry of Economy recently reviewed the fees charged by its various departments, including the Trade Mark, Patent and Copyright Office.
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